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Baseball district preview

Tribune Staff • May 29, 2018 at 12:15 AM

The prep baseball postseason officially kicks off today with every local team dreaming of a trip to Michigan State University's McLane Stadium on June 14-16. Last year, the Grand Haven Buccaneers caught fire after a dramatic district championship run and the end result was an unprecedented state semifinals appearance.

This spring, there are plenty of teams with the offensive firepower, defensive tenacity and pitching prowess to put together a memorable run of their own.

Here's a look at what each district for Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Fruitport and Western Michigan Christian looks like.

DIVISION 1 AT MONA SHORES

TUESDAY

District opener: Mona Shores vs. Reeths-Puffer, 3 p.m.; Grand Haven vs. Muskegon, 5 p.m.

SATURDAY

District semifinals: Holland vs. Grand Haven-Muskegon winner, 10 a.m.; West Ottawa vs. Mona Shores-Reeths-Puffer winner, noon

District finals: Semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

NOTES: Grand Haven will look to defend their district crown after winning three straight playoff games last season over Holland (4-2), West Ottawa (4-3) and Mona Shores (6-4) to bring home the trophy. In those contests, the Buccaneers leaned on strong starting pitching and timely hitting to win a wild tournament full of worthy opponents.

This season might create a similar path for the Bucs, as they will meet Holland in the semifinals and possibly West Ottawa or Mona Shores again in the finals. Does this year's Grand Haven squad have a magic run in them?

PREDICTION: Grand Haven over Mona Shores

DIVISION 2 AT SPRING LAKE

TUESDAY

District opener: Fruitport vs. Allendale, 5 p.m.

SATURDAY

District semifinals: Coopersville vs. Fruitport-Allendale winner, 10 a.m.; Spring Lake vs. Kenowa Hills, 12:30 p.m.

District finals: Semifinal winners, 3 p.m.

NOTES: The Spring Lake baseball team has enjoyed a resurgent season this spring, playing above .500 baseball and challenging the powerhouse programs of the O-K Blue Conference. The Lakers have the bats to make some noise in the postseason, but a lack of depth on the mound could prove costly. Kenowa Hills is a difficult draw for the Lakers, as the Knights have been steady all season in the O-K Black Conference and have recorded wins over Division 1 opponents such as Jenison and Mona Shores along the way.

Last season, Fruitport scored a 3-0 win over Spring Lake in the district opener before falling in a 5-4 slugfest with Allendale in the semifinals. The Trojans have put together a solid season, with quality wins over Muskegon Catholic Central and Reeths-Puffer. The Trojans have already battled against the likes of Kenowa Hills, Mona Shores and Jenison with mixed results, but a strong day at the plate could give Fruitport another crack at the Knights with a district title on the line.

PREDICTION: Kenowa Hills over Allendale

DIVISION 4 AT MUSKEGON CATHOLIC CENTRAL

SATURDAY

District semifinals: Holland Calvary Christian vs. Western Michigan Christian, 10 a.m.; Muskegon Catholic Central vs. Holton, noon.

District finals: Semifinal winners, 2:30 p.m.

NOTES: The Western Michigan Christian baseball team has shown signs of improvement this spring, highlighted by a walk-off win over Muskegon Catholic Central on May 9. The Warriors have solid starting pitching and some quality hitters throughout their lineup that should challenge any opposing pitcher they face. If they can get past Calvary Christian in their opener, they should get another chance to clash with the Crusaders.

PREDICTION: Western Michigan Christian over Muskegon Catholic Central

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